Friday Spiderday with Cinnamon

cinnamon 3This has to be my favourite Belizean spider, the Cinnamon Tarantula (Crassicrus lamanai), first described in 1996 from specimens caught in New River Lagoon, Indian Church Village near the Lamanai Forest Reserve in Orange Walk District. Both the name of the reserve and the specific epithet are derived from the Mayan word lama’ anayin; this was the name of their ancient trading center, still standing centuries later, but now called Lamanai.

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This is a female as indicated by the cinnamon-coloured first three pairs of legs, and in the side view , the markedly incrassate (thickened) tibia of the fourth legs. Apparently the males are all black but I have yet to find one to photograph. This species lives in close association with the more common Mexican Red-rumped Tarantula (Brachypelma vagans), the two species completely sympatric and easy to find in communities of dozens of closely spaced burrows.

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On this shoot I actually caught both CLs and BVs with chewing gum! Usually, with a ball of chicle to hand (in Belize, the natural gum that comes from the Sapodilla, Manikara zapota) attached to fishing line, when teased the tarantula often sinks its fangs into the chicle and steadily one can draw them out of their burrow- in my case, all I had was the vastly inferior spearmint flavoured Chicklets (and yes, the brand name is derived from the natural substance) so it took a couple of hours and my last two packs of gum longer than it should have!

 

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The Mexican Red-rump Tarantula is completely sympatric with the Cinnamon, both species living in close proximity to eachother in mixed species communities.

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